STAR OF THE GAME
Jessica Davenport
Davenport contributed a team-high 20 points, 11 coming in the 4th quarter. She also added 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and one steal in the victory.
UNSUNG HERO
Katie Douglas
Douglas came close to a triple-double with a game-high 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 9 points.
QUOTABLE
Lin Dunn
In general:
“We had a really good effort being disruptive on defense tonight. We did a good job of attacking in the paint. We did lots of really good things tonight. When our bench scores we are a good team. Our defense was key tonight.”

Tamika Catchings
On First Game:
“One of the things we talked about in the losses that we had, we only have about three people average double figures. Where most of the time when we were winning we were averaging about five consistent players that are in double figures. Between Katie (Douglas) and Dav (Jessica Davenport) tonight, Dav down low taking it to the post and Katie, we need to get her more touches, coming to the ball, coming to the basket to catch and shoot – that’s when she’s at her best.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 34, Sky 24
Second-chance points:

Fever 22, Sky 6
Fast-break points:

Fever 8, Sky 0
Points off turnovers:

Fever 14, Sky 16
Starters scoring:

Fever 40, Sky 40
Bench scoring:

Fever 37, Sky 26
Indiana's Douglas, Smith and defense too much for Chicago

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Chicago 8-9 11 16 16 20 63
at Indiana 11-6 18 23 20 16 77

By Tom Rietmann

INDIANAPOLIS -- It was a special night for Tamika Catchings, but the Indiana Fever star didn't want to dwell on that. She preferred to discuss the all-around effort her team turned in Thursday night in a 77-63 victory over the Chicago Sky.

The Fever held Chicago to 40.7 percent shooting and outrebounded the Sky 36-27. Indiana's reserves amassed 37 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and five steals. The Fever outscored Chicago 34-24 in the paint and dominated the visitors in second-chance points, 22-6.

“I think we came out real focused as a team,” Catchings said. “The biggest thing we wanted to do was just attack in transition.”

The victory halted a three-game skid and pushed Indiana (11-6) back to the top of the WNBA Eastern Conference ahead of this weekend's All-Star break.

“As a team, we all committed tonight,” Catchings said about Indiana's strong effort. “Everybody just came out with a lot more energy.”

The triumph was a birthday present for Catchings, who turned 32 on Thursday. It also came on a night the team honored her by handing out bobblehead dolls with her likeness. Catchings, who totaled 13 points and seven rebounds against Chicago, heads for the WNBA All-Star Game as the league's leading vote-getter.

Jessica Davenport came off the bench to lead Indiana with 20 points and collect five rebounds while often going against Chicago star Sylvia Fowles. Fowles, the WNBA's leading scorer, got 21 points but just one rebound, almost nine under her average.

“I thought (Davenport) was very aggressive attacking their bigs in the paint,” Fever coach Lin Dunn said. “Sylvia is just a great player. And I thought Davenport showed a lot of confidence going right at her.”

For Davenport, it was her eighth straight game in double-digit scoring and 11th of the season.

“I thought they were playing single coverage,” Davenport said about Chicago's defense, “so anytime someone plays single coverage on me or anybody on this team, our thing is to attack. That's what I did.”

Shannon Bobbitt came off the Indiana bench and put defensive heat on Chicago point guard Courtney Vandersloot. She sparked an Indiana defense that disrupted the Sky (8-9), who committed 18 turnovers. Chicago scored zero fast-break points.

Bobbitt also provided an offensive lift with seven points and strong transition play.

“We came out and wanted to jump on them from the tipoff,” Bobbitt said. “We were up in passing lanes and picking them up fullcourt and giving their point guards a hard time.

“Tonight I just wanted to come out and give a lot of energy,” Bobbitt added.

Shyra Ely, a reserve forward for the Fever, grabbed seven rebounds, tying for the game high with Catchings and Katie Douglas. Ely, an Indianapolis native, spent the 2009 season with Chicago.

“I felt good today,” Ely said. “It's always fun to play a former team. I wanted to come in and produce off the bench. I've tried to refocus on rebounding. That's really been a goal of mine -- when I get in, to go after the boards.”

While Catchings and Douglas head to San Antonio for Saturday afternoon's All-Star Game, the rest of the Fever will get a few days off at the midway point of their 34-game schedule. Dunn, like Catchings, was happy the Indiana team turned in a sound performance both defensively and offensively as it goes into the break.

Said Dunn: “I thought it was a really good effort for us to be more aggressive defensively, to be more disruptive, and to really push the ball and run the floor and score early. And we were attacking the paint.”

Fever tidbits
Lauren Cheney, a standout on the USA women's soccer team and a graduate of Indianapolis Ben Davis High School, attended Thursday night's game as part of the Inspiring Women Night activities. When Cheney was introduced to the crowd before the game, she received long and loud applause from the 8,050 fans at Conseco Fieldhouse. … Catchings, who graduated from Duncanville High School in Texas, said she expects about 50 of her family members and friends to be on hand for All-Star festivities this weekend in San Antonio.

Postgame Notes:

  • The leading candidate for the WNBA's Most Improved Player award, Jessica Davenport led the Fever with 20 points tonight. This is the third time this season that Davenport has scored 20+ points and her eight free throws made and 10 attempts from the foul line are both career-highs. She missed matching the league's leading scorer, Sylvia Fowles by just one point.
  • Her 20 points tonight matched Davenport's most off the bench.
  • Third in the WNBA with an average of 9.8 rpg this season, Chicago's Sylvia Fowles had just one board tonight\.
  • Tonight's win ends the Fever's losing streak at a season-long three in a row, matching the longest for the team since a four-game streak in 2007.
  • Tonight's win is the Fever's seventh in a row against the Sky and Indiana leads the all-time series with Chicago, 18-4.
  • Six straight wins over Chicago represents Indiana's second longest streak ever against a WNBA opponent and it is the longest active streak for Indiana vs. any of the 11 other WNBA teams.
  • With a team-high seven, Katie Douglas had a season-high--one short of her most ever in the WNBA.
  • Douglas was also one short of her season-high with seven rebounds, which tied for the team lead.
  • One of three Indiana players with a team-high, Shyra Ely's seven off the bench are her most this season and one off her most ever in the WNBA.
  • Indiana outrebounded the Sky, 36-27, and the team is 5-1 this season when outrebounding the opposition.
  • After giving up 32+ points in the paint to the previous three opponents, the Fever defense held Chicago to just 24 and Indiana is 8-2 this season when outscoring its opponent in the paint.
  • Making her second straight start, Tammy Sutton-Brown had the only two blocked shots for the Fever tonight and she has rejected two shots in each of the last two games, and in four of the last six contests.
  • Tonight's starting lineup of Catchings, Smith, Sutton-Brown, Douglas and Phillips is the sixth different starting combination that the Fever has utilized this season.
  • With an advantage of 13-9 on the offensive boards, the Fever outscored Chicago, 22-6, in second chance points. That is Indiana's most second chance points this season.
  • Chicago's 11 points in the first quarter are the fewest scored against the Fever in a first period this season. The Sky's 27 first half points tied the fewest scored by a Fever opponent in a first half in 2011.
  • Chicago had no fastbreak points tonight, a first for an Indiana opponent this season.
  • Erin Thorn's 15 points tonight are her most this season.